Last month, we discussed the different kinds of light (ambient, task and accent) and which types may be best for particular rooms. This month we explore the best types of fixtures. Here are some thoughts.
Ceiling Mount Fixtures
These are appropriate for ambient lighting in areas such as entry foyers, hallways, bedrooms, task areas and stairways. In hallways, where you need multiple fixtures, space them out every eight to 10 feet.
These can also be used for ambient lighting, but are best deployed in the dining room or bedrooms. In the dining room, to determine the appropriate width or diameter of the fixture, measure the width or diameter of your table, and then subtract 12 inches from that number. That will give you the maximum width or diameter of the fixture. However, a fixture with a fancy or complex design may appear larger than it actually is, so you may want to scale down the maximum width or diameter. Also, the bottom of the fixture should hang between 30 and 36 inches above the tabletop. But if your ceiling is higher, add three more inches above the table for each additional foot of ceiling.
Wall-mounted Fixtures (aka sconces)
These can be used in any room for ambient, task or accent lighting, depending on where you put them and what type of bulb you use. However, the closer you will be to what the sconce is illuminating, the smaller the sconce should be. For example, in bathrooms where you will be close to a mirror, select tiny fixtures no more than 10 inches. If the sconces have shades, the bottom edges of the shades should be a little below eye level.
Pendant lighting is used for task lighting. Pendant lights hang from the ceiling and have shades to avoid glare. Use them over dining room tables, countertops or other work areas. Determine the appropriate size the same way you do so for chandeliers.
Recessed lighting can be used in any room for general, task or accent lighting. In rooms with multiple recesses, think carefully about where to place the lights. Remember, once you install the lamps, you don’t want to have to change where they are.
Track lighting is very versatile, and can be used for almost anything. Track lighting offers flexibility in that you can move the individual lamps around, so some lamps can be used to illuminate the entire room, and some can be used to accent a particular item.
These work well to provide accent lighting in a living room or task lighting in the bedroom.